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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

August 20, 2020

Top Story

Here’s how California can keep the lights on while meeting its clean energy goals

By Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times  •    •  Posted 2020-08-21 04:04:32

The president of California’s power grid operator said saying renewable energy wasn’t to blame for the outages. The real problem, he said, was a statewide failure to assemble the right mix of energy sources for the completely predictable situation of electricity demand staying high after the sun goes down. Although the exact causes of the blackouts are still up for debate — some critics have blamed the California Independent System Operator for poor management of energy markets — there’s no question that lining up enough power on hot summer evenings is one of the main challenges California must confront as it continues to phase out fossil fuels. Fortunately, experts say, there are many possible clean energy solutions. [ read more … ]

Fires, Blackouts, a Heat Wave and a Pandemic: California’s ‘Horrible’ Month

By Thomas Fuller, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:08:07

On Wednesday millions of California residents were smothered by smoke-filled skies as dozens of wildfires raged out of control. They braced for triple-digit temperatures, the sixth day of a punishing heat wave that included a recent reading of 130 degrees in Death Valley. They braced for possible power outages because the state’s grid is overloaded, the latest sign of an energy crisis. And they continued to fight a virus that is killing 130 Californians a day. Even for a state accustomed to disaster, August has been a terrible month. [ read more … ]

Calif. blackouts: A ‘wake-up call’ for clean energy?

By Peter Behr, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:04:42

When rolling blackouts hit heat-stricken California last weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) angrily blasted the state’s grid officials for failing to do their job. “These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state,” Newsom wrote in a letter to the agencies that regulate the power sector. “This cannot stand.” This week, California was hit again from the opposite end of the political spectrum in taunting tweets from President Trump in the middle of the Democratic National Convention. [ read more … ]

Wind & Solar Energy

Solar, Wind, and Batteries Are All Grown Up

By Nathaniel Bullard, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:06:19

While driving in Maryland last week, I passed a 13.6 megawatt solar project completed four years ago. At the time it was built it was on the larger side for the Mid-Atlantic region; a decade earlier, it would have been one of the very largest projects under construction in the entire country. When a technology goes from being scarce and expensive to abundant and cheap in that short a timeframe, it changes people and their long-term decisions in meaningful ways. Onshore wind, too, has become ubiquitous enough that wind and solar are now the cheapest new units of power generation for most of the globe. Lithium-ion storage batteries, meanwhile, are allowing them to provide energy close to around the clock.  [ read more … ]


Louisiana governor’s goal: net zero greenhouse gases by 2050

By Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:07:16

Gov. John Bel Edwards laid out the state’s first goal for greenhouse gases in an order creating a climate initiatives task force to include members from state government, business, environmental justice, Indian tribes, academics and other areas. A second order signed Wednesday creates a state resilience officer and directs all state agencies to work with that person toward protecting and restoring Louisiana’s vanishing coast. [ read more … ]

In Maine, pandemic hasn’t stopped push for a publicly owned electric grid

By Tom Perkins, Energy News Network  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:07:35

A wave of campaigns seeking to set up publicly owned electric utilities seemed to be picking up steam heading into 2020, fueled by frustration over investor-owned utilities’ rates, service, and slow transition to renewables. Then the pandemic hit. Its economic fallout cast uncertainty on the efforts, but proponents say the campaigns will move forward, and the pandemic only underscores the need for change.  [ read more … ]

Campaign 2020

Democrats Attempted to Make a Quiet Platform Change. Climate Activists Objected Loudly.

By Leslie Kaufman, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:05:50

The DNC platform is crafted by a committee of 15 members including politicians and key supporters such as union heads, but any party delegate can offer an amendment to be voted on. While neither party’s platform holds much sway over what a president or any of its members will do if elected, it is a public statement of values, and as such is closely watched by interest groups. As Rhiana Gunn-Wright, climate director at the Roosevelt Institute think tank, put it: “I don’t want to speculate on what removing the language from the platform means, but the reality is that it sends a signal about the potential limits of the Democratic Party’s commitment to climate action—and what they are willing to face.” [ read more … ]

Democrats weigh whether to go it alone on climate

By Adam Aton, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:06:54

Democrats of all stripes rallied this week around the party’s ambitious pledge to address climate change, with support coming from party insiders, socialist activists and corporate executives. The exception was an uproar over the party platform. After the Democratic National Committee scrubbed platform language opposing fossil fuel subsidies, presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign reiterated that he would end them — spotlighting the unity between the party’s grassroots and the top of the ticket. [ read more … ]

Parsing the Biden climate message

BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:07:50

Night 3 of the Democratic National Convention featured a lengthy 11-minute take on Joe Biden’s climate and clean energy strategy that hammered home some of his big themes rather than the wonky details. The segment was heavy on optimism and rallying the can-do American spirit, while largely eschewing the scary climate warnings — and steering clear of controversial calls about how to tackle fossil fuels. [ read more … ]

Green-Energy Shares Rise Along With Joe Biden’s Polling

By Anna Hirtenstein, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:08:30

Investors betting that Joe Biden will win the presidential election are buying up clean-energy stocks, sending the share prices of some companies to all-time highs. The WilderHill Clean Energy Index, a compilation of green-power companies listed on U.S. exchanges, surged to an over nine-year high Wednesday. It has climbed 33% since the beginning of July. Its biggest companies include First Solar Inc. and Tesla Inc. [ read more … ]

Climate Litigation

D.C. says climate case belongs in local court

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:06:43

Some experts say the newest iteration of climate liability lawsuits brought by states’ attorneys general using consumer protection laws could face an easier battle in the legal fight to remain in state court, since local consumer protection laws are so robust. A similar case brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy (D) is currently pending in state court after judges scrapped Exxon’s bid to push it to federal court in May. A consumer protection case from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D), filed a day before Racine’s case, was moved to a federal bench last month. [ read more … ]


$1B gaps, education cuts: Oil states struggle to pay bill

By Mike Lee, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-08-20 15:04:56

Oil-producing states are bracing for spending cuts as the coronavirus pandemic continues to put a damper on the industry. North Dakota’s oil production stayed near a seven-year low in June at 890,000 barrels a month, for instance. That’s a slight increase from May but still about 40% below the state’s output in December. Oil production tax revenues are 15% lower than forecast for the two-year budget cycle and a whopping 83% lower in July, according to North Dakota budget figures. [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.